Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked

released on Feb 23, 2006

Samurai Champloo steps out of the hack-and-slash action genre and offers a new way to swing a finely-honed samurai blade. Set in Japan with hip hop feel from the hit TV series by the same name, this title allows gamers to breathe life to a "lost episode" as one of three playable characters - Mugen, a reckless samurai with break-dancing fighting style, calculated Jin who abides by the decorum of Bushido, and a mysterious new character exclusive to the video game. Stranded in northern land of Ezo (current day Hokkaido) in search of the samurai who smells of sunflowers, the player must face foreign mercenaries, master swordsmen, diabolical assassins, mythical beasts, and gangster monkeys. The core of the game's unique combat system lies in the innovative integration of music and linked attacks. The players can choose an array of combos based on the different hip hop grooves that they can swap at will. Music tracks become collectible, opening an extensive assortment of linked attacks that can be implemented tactically during combat.

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One of my favourite animes and one of my favourite game developers making this seemed like a godsend, but in reality this plays like ass. I'll give it points for trying to replicate the vibes though


Some days, some nights, Some live, some die, In the way of the samurai
Muchos desconocen la existencia de este juego y es algo que puedo llegar a entender considerando la época donde salio y lo poco mainstream de la serie que se basaba. Aun con eso tomaron lo que seria la decision mas inteligente y se distanciaron todo lo que pudieron del material original a manos del mismísimo Suda 51.
Tomando esto en cuenta Sidetracked traslada a sus personajes a un hack-and-slash con su propio y representativo estilo con una estética acorde al producto que adapta junto con una jugabilidad que representa (En parte) el estar en la piel de los personajes.
Mugen esta bien representado con su validez y odiocidad que es carismática en todo momento, fuera de las cinemáticas se siente controlar a mugen por como controla las armas, como se mueve y esquiva.
Jin como opuesto siendo el mas cereno y calmado, el no corre a menos que ataques primero, es alguien mucho mas metódico al esquivar y disfrutar de los combos cuando aprendes a dominarlo.
Finalmente Worso tiene suficiente equilibrio entre ambos para ser satisfactorio de controlarlo ya aprendiendo la técnicas y trucos que el juego tanto te pide dominar para avanzar.
El juego tiene un sistema de dificultad acorde avanzas en el juego, siendo que se puede hacer repetitivo al principio pero realmente aprovecha bien cada enfrentamiento y jugo al juego, mas considerando el contenido extra para desbloquear.
Los jefes en su mayoría son un desafió en muchas ocasiones, la bruja por su lado es jodidamente injusta, no solo porque sea el único jefe que te hace sudar y llorar si no porque es un maldito Bullet hell de la nada. Compáralo un momento con la batalla con Sans con la diferencia que es en 3D y el corazón no es preciso, tienes un jodido infierno en vida que me saco 100 muertes contadas.
Como elemento importante de un hack-and-slash el juego vive y respira por su musica, una que tienes que cambiar manualmente en las tiendas para disfrutarlas toda y que a su vez es la paga por cada jefe vencido.
Amantes del anime, amantes de Suda 51 y los hack-and-slash con un emulador de Ps2 o un disco duro realmente pienso que es una buena opción y una que genuinamente no es relevante y merece pasar mucho mas del boca a boca para obtener un estatus de culto de la misma manera que (Killer 7).

Really cool game. Aesthetic and storytelling is spot on with the anime, and the game design and graphics are dope from Suda51. Only problem is that the gameplay gets pretty repetitive, but the boss fights make up for it imo. 6/10

A great combination of developer and franchise but failed to realize its potential
Samurai Champloo and Suda51 sounded like a match made in heaven and it should be in some extent. Releasing in 2006, Grasshopper Manufacture made a Samurai Champloo game if you can believe it or not on the PS2 and Suda51 even wrote and directed this one. I always felt like his unique presentation and style would've really fit this anime and it does to some extent here but the gameplay and frustrating gameplay design really prevented me to enjoying this as much as I really wanted to considering how I'm a big fan of the anime itself and Suda51 to a very small extent.
The premise here is the main trio (Mugen, Jin and Fuu) get sort of well "sidetracked" and sent off to Hokkaido for a new adventure of sorts despite the publisher itself saying that it has nothing to do with the events of the original anime. You have two options to choose from here and they play differently and have differences in their stories as well, the rambunctious Mugen or the quiet and tactical Jin. My opinions here will reflect the Mugen route for most of this review since I couldn't really get myself to beat the Jin route afterwards. The hack and slash/beat em up gameplay works around a combo lists and music tracks to an extent. You can equip two music tracks that also serve as your combo lists and background music for the gameplay and some of them also bring buffs with them as well. The flow itself feels pretty nice, moves have a huge commitment and weight to them that feel natural which I thought was cool for a bit. The writing here is pretty good and matches the comedic tone and timing of the anime to an extent as well.
With all that said, there is a fair bit I don't like about this game and some things that really ruined the experience completely. Some bosses bring a really big difficulty spikes with some weird mechanics that make it hard to dodge despite the game really not giving you any real defensive tools but with that said, it's entirely possible and not like bordering on unbeatable but it makes you do the "dodge everything and play it safe" method that doesn't feel fun at all here considering the gameplay consists of you and rewarding you for doing combos which some bosses will straight up not let you do. Not to mention some platforming that is fortunately sparse will sometimes not even work as I spent like 10 minutes trying to climb certain cliffs to no avail as if it doesn't work at all. I tried resets and I tried different angles and even watching someone else tackling this in case I was doing it wrong and even they had the same problems sadly. Also for some reason, there's also a lot of loading screens in this game and got pretty tedious going into stores after a while. The overall story here isn't really interesting all it itself and just does feel like a filler even though the whole purpose of this game to be filler to some extent. The final level also gives off "the parking lot level in NMH2" to an extent except it takes a whole hour of non stop gameplay without any cutscene or reprieve at all. It also doesn't help that they managed 2 of the 3 original actors for the game except for one of the most important roles, Blum doesn't reprise Mugen here and instead Liam O'Brien takes the helm here. I usually think he overall does a pretty good job but it feels sort of weird here as he sounds sorta phoned in sadly and too jarring from Blum's original performance in the anime and takes you out a bit of the game sadly. With that said, there is an undub version out there if that's your preference as well.
I honestly really wanted to like this game and I sorta still appreciate it for what they managed to do at the time. I still feel like they could do this anime justice if given another shot with what they've learned but sadly after beating Mugen's route, it felt like watching a filler episode of an anime with good character interactions with gameplay that looked good in the visual department but never really changed other than the combo lists. I didn't even mention the weapons system in this game that I rarely used since durability is very small for most of the weapons I used so you mostly just use the stock sword for most of the game anyway. A bit more disappointing but if you can put up with it and are a huge fan of the anime, it's not too long of a game to get through since there is definitely something good here but I failed to realize it or the game itself did.